With few exceptions, we cannot control what happens to us when our lives are negatively impacted, however, we can control how we respond to these negative situations. The programing within our mind is based on past experiences or fear that has been created from within our environment, and this creates an initial reaction. As a result, many people stop thinking clearly and accept their circumstance as being the “norm”. They believe it is out of their control, so they “go with the flow” – running with a temporary negative emotion and simply hoping that somehow a positive outcome will result.
Imagine you start off on a journey with no idea where your destination is. Which direction do you take to start? If you ask someone else, you are at the mercy of their objective, not your own. And do you even understand why you wanted to start this journey? Was it because someone else said you should?
This is why identifying your purpose is the starting place, your departure point. We all need to know where we are going – as an individual and collectively as part of an organization.
How and why did we get here? Why do so many people feel lost, without direction and stuck in their current circumstances - and why do they choose not to search for the cause?
“The Law of Cause and Effect” begins to provide an answer to these questions.
For a moment, consider a negative circumstance that you might have experienced. This circumstance is actually a “Symptom” that can disrupt your emotional compass and inhibit your attempts to make progress. In medical terms, a symptom is the existence of something that acts as a warning, or barrier – taking the form of an undesirable situation. And if the Symptom is not addressed, the condition can worsen and often become chronic.
Situational Symptoms can be both subjective or objective in nature. In either case, this Symptom is the effect of a root cause. This defines The Law of Cause and Effect.
You are probably reading this saying to yourself, “this is obvious”, and you are right! But this conclusion is readily ignored as people feel victimized, helpless and stuck with their situational Symptoms. It is also why so many have surrendered to stop searching for the cause or source of the Symptom. Some fear that search would only uncover more pain and things will just get worse.
The good news is this: There is an answer and it is a simple one. We, as individuals, are conditioned to accept the status quo. We have all heard and possibly used the common axiom “that’s just how it is”.
However, we forfeit the opportunity to think for ourselves about how we can identify the cause of the situational Symptom and, subsequently, produce an effect that we control and desire. Before you dismiss this as nonsense, take a reflective look at your own circumstance. Be honest about what actions that you are taking to intentionally identify the root cause, identify the actions needed and change things for the better. You may not even know what you want in life, and that is an all too common problem. Remember, you might just be on someone else’s journey.
When you are on someone else’s journey, you drift through life. We hope for something to change, and we find our gaze is naturally downwards in a resigned posture. The environment where we exist dictates our programing of thoughts, behaviors and actions. We simply exist for others to use us.
Personal Reflection and Application
My “light-bulb” moment came in the summer of 2016 when one event became the catalyst for a major shift in my own awareness. It required me to be honest and, led me to begin thinking on my own.
I was faced with a choice: carry on as I was and continue down a slippery slope to a life of unhappiness without love; or do I change my mindset and finally take action to search for my purpose and identify what is important to me. I clearly saw that was what I needed to take control of my life.
The truth is I knew I had to change, but the reality is that I had absolutely no idea how to do it. I was stuck in the Symptom phase and had to find the cause. I had to know what was the source of my circumstance.
I believe that this realization allowed me to lift my head, and by doing so, I was able to see opportunities that had been there all along.
I was searching for the answer towards the end of 2016 and I was shown Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on the Golden Circle and this helped me to identify my “WHY” - which is: To add value to other people so that they can become the best version of themselves.
At that time, my career path had already led to me Central Florida. My previous career in the UK was in the retail automotive industry where we chased monthly, quarterly, and annual targets on a perpetual hamster wheel. During this period of my life, I had no end destination and therefore my direction was cloudy, to say the least. I always enjoyed helping people achieve their targets and knew that my success was dependent on everyone doing so. I reveled in training people with little or no experience to use a process that produced results by delivering exceptional customer service.
When I discovered Simon Sinek’s work, I had already joined a team at Disney that brought innovative ideas to other cast members. This became the first application of my WHY - and part of this evolved into teaching individuals and teams to find their own WHY.
I had found my passion and knew that this was the direction my life was destined to go in.
At first, I thought my mission was to help adults who were approaching their “Third Quarter” of life to find their purpose and design the future that they desired. As I dug deeper, I knew that while this was a worthwhile mission it was merely a symptom so I kept digging.
Eventually, I came to the realization that this state of “acceptance” starts in our childhood where our parents, school teachers and other influencers condition us to accept circumstances - rather than think for ourselves.
Once the pattern is established, this behavior continues into our adulthood with friends, colleagues, and employers influencing us in the same way.
Bingo! The source is our teenage years – and by creating opportunity to change the behaviors in these years, a ripple effect is generated that would literally change the world!
I had a dream when I was growing up of becoming an airline pilot. I had a plan which involved completing my high school education, and then joining the Royal Air Force - who would then put me through University and teach me to fly. After completing my military service, I would join an airline and be a professional pilot.
I can’t tell you why I wanted to do this, but what I do know is that it obviously wasn’t my true passion. This became evident at a careers fair evening when I was 17 and it was suggested that I leave school to join a Management program with the National Westminster Bank. Being a typical and easily influenceable youth, I did just that!
I allowed myself to be tempted by an immediate wage, albeit extremely low, and the promise of becoming a bank manager. The decisions were being made for me. Someone else had shown me the next turn, and because I didn’t have a clear idea and passion about my destination, I accepted this as the right decision. I was on someone else’s journey.
This happened because as a 17-year old I was not prepared for making decisions that would affect the rest of my life and yet, still today, we expect our teenagers to do this. Many teenagers choose a degree based on what other people tell them is the right one instead of giving real consideration for where their true passion lies.
I have heard first-hand how many students openly admit that they don’t know what they want to do after college or what to expect once they enter the workplace. A large number of these young adults have never had to take care of themselves as their parents have supported them and enabled them by absolving them from taking responsibility for themselves.
Upon graduation, they take the first job that pays them a decent wage and expect to move through the ranks. This has been labeled as a Millennial Generation issue - although, during my 30-year corporate career, I have seen this pattern of behavior exhibited in all generational groups.
Which brings us back to the question: Where does it come from and what is the source?
I have a lot of respect for teachers, but I believe the education system is fundamentally flawed as we students are taught to memorize information for the sole purpose of passing a standardized test, rather than what will prepare them for success in a career.
I will reiterate that I do not blame the teachers or the parents. This is how we have been conditioned to behave. Simon Sinek talks about the difference between a finite and infinite mindset in his latest book, The Infinite Game, and the education system is a classic example of this.
Schools and colleges are focused on the results that the students get instead of where their individual passion and strengths are. I understand that we need to teach the basics to our children, but I also know that when we work in our strength zones that we are happier and more productive. So surely, this should be the overall goal!
My study of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle concept allowed me to see how this can be applied to the challenge of problem solving by changing the “Why” to “Who”.
When we see a problem, it is identified by the Symptom, i.e. what is happening.
The next step is to identify how this is happening before determining who is responsible. I want to make it clear that who is responsible is not necessarily the person who carried out the task. It usually goes deeper than that because someone made the decision to put that process into place. The truth is, the source of every Symptom is a person because people are at the heart of every decision.
The decisions that are made dictate the behaviors, actions, and ultimately the results which in turn produces the circumstances that manifested as the problem.
My dream is that everyone learns to run toward something that they desire rather than run away from something that they fear. Your vision can, and will, exist if we you decide to take control of your own life. and therefore, I encourage you to stand up and become the “Master of your fate and the Captain of your soul”.
Make your life count! This is not a dress rehearsal - it is the main event and we all have a responsibility to live life to the fullest and to serve others. The first step on your journey is to change the programing so that limiting beliefs become a thing of the past.
Acorns 2 Oaks Leadership Academy is a program that I have designed to solve these problems. It addresses the source of the Symptoms such as low employee engagement in the workplace and the connection to a lack of ambition by 13-18-year old’s and their parents. The program outlines how youth can identify their purpose, passion, and strengths early in their lives and build a foundation to live a life of happiness and fulfillment. When these young adults embrace this program and follow their purpose and passion. As young adults, this newly acquired strength can prepare them to enter the workforce with leadership skills and work ethics as the most desirable candidates.
This cultural shift can multiply through sharing best practices and application of thought. In doing so, the corporate world will see the benefit through higher employee engagement, higher productivity, and greater loyalty.
Imagine a world where:
This world is there for all of us if we identify where we want to go, why we want to go there, and are prepared to work for the cause.
Ask yourself these questions:
EVERYTHING IS impossible - until it was done.
I invite you to join me on my quest to build tomorrow’s leaders today and change the world! If you are interested in learning more you can contact me for a complimentary 30-minute discovery session where we can determine what your next steps should be.
It is time to start YOUR journey, today!
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